Here are four quick projects to get your home ready for the holidays.
It’s almost that time of year again, and you know what that means: Lots more stuff in your home! Between holiday deals, gifts, and splurges on ourselves, it’s easy to see why this season can bring a bit of chaos to even the most organized homes. To help prevent this chaos, it’s a good idea to take a day and make room for everything that will be coming in to the house.
I realize the holidays are hectic already, so let me clarify that I’m not expecting you to do a full decluttering session on your home in November. What I am proposing is that you go through a few key areas of your home that have the opportunity to make a big impact on your home’s clutter level. These are four specific areas, and you can likely do each of these by adding just 20 minutes to your daily routine for 1 week. By the end of the work week, you’ll have made a big impact and opened up a whole lot of space for the new items to arrive.
The first area on the list is your pantry. This is a great area to focus on before the holidays because there are food drives going on in nearly every grocery store. It’s likely that every food item you clear out of your panty can be donated to a worthy cause just by bagging it up and taking it to the grocery store when you do your shopping.
No matter how well we plan and shop for meals, it seems that there are always a few items that get pushed to the back of the pantry. In our home, we may get busy and rely on boxed rice mixes a few times a week. After a couple weeks, we are likely sick of boxed rice mixes, so the extras get pushed aside. The same thing happens with cereals, snack food, and canned goods. These are all great items to pull out of your pantry and donate to a food bank or food drive. They can help provide meals to local families, and it helps you clean out room to store your holiday foods. By spending 20-30 minutes one day this week on bagging up your unwanted food items, you’ll be doing good things for your home and others in your community.
For years, I have worked with clients to help them organize toys around the holidays. More often than not, the parents I meet are overwhelmed with the amount of toys that are in their homes. And most of those toys arrive in December. I’m quickly learning with my 4-month-old son that you can’t do much to fight the amount of toys coming in to the home from well-intentioned family members, but you can fight the clutter they create by cleaning out the older, unused toys before the new ones arrive.
One day this week, commit 20-30 minutes to doing a quick once-over of the toys in your home. Have a few bags ready to be filled, and as soon as you see a toy you know hasn’t been played with for the last year, toss it in the bag. If you are questioning whether or not your child will have a meltdown when they discover certain toys are gone, keep the bags in a hidden area for a few weeks until you can confidently donate the bag. Whatever you do, DO NOT let your kids see these bags. Time and time again, I’ve seen parents make amazing progress on clearing out unwanted toys from a toy room, only to have a child see the toys getting removed and suddenly having an extreme emotional attachment to every toy in the bag. Keep the bag hidden, and if your child complains he can’t find one that you know is pulled aside, secretly pull it out and let him know you found it somewhere he hadn’t looked.
If you have started to talk with your child about giving to those who are less fortunate, this is a great time to get him involved in the clean out process. Ask him which toys are his favorites right now, then ask which toys would be better for younger kids. He can likely pick out a number of toys that he no longer plays with and may be willing to give to younger, less fortunate children. This will start to teach your child good decluttering practices for the future, and make your personal organizing efforts easier moving forward.